Critical hit means randomly occurring increased damage. But what's the term for randomly occurring reduced damage?

My friends said it's a missed hit, but it's not really what I'm looking for.

  • 2
    There isn't any universal term for this. Different games will have different mechanics and call them different things. Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:44
  • 1
    That doesn't make it a bad question though.
    – Reafexus
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:51
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    "There isn't a universal term for this, but here are some examples in different games" would make a fine answer to this reasonable (IMHO) question. This isn't "too broad".
    – Adam Lear
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:51
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    @LessPop_MoreFizz I fail to see how this is too broad. It is very pointedly asking for the opposite of a critical hit. There is only one interpretation of that, especially when they specifically say 'randomly occuring reduced damage'. Your answer is appropriate as there is no direct opposite term. The fact that there is no answer does not automatically make the question broad.
    – Reafexus
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 21:20
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    A glancing blow perhaps? I've seen that come up in a variety of games that randomly occurs and causes reduced damage.
    – A.C.M.
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 2:51

3 Answers 3


You're looking for something that kind of doesn't exist. In terms of a direct opposite to the idea of a 'critical hit', the closest analog would just be to not hit at all, or, y'know, 'miss'. That said, some games include the concept of the 'critical miss' as seen in many tabletop RPGs, or in the earlier Fallout games (for example), which don't just not hit the target, but cause some calamity to the individual making the attack. For instance, you don't just not hit your target, but you shoot yourself in the foot, or your weapon breaks, or whatever.

That said, you've asked about something that isn't really a direct analog, which is when an attack does a reduced amount of damage to a target, even though it hits. This happens in lots of games for lots of reasons and gets called lots of different things. Some games include a concept of 'resistance', wherein damage is reduced by a set amount, or sometimes, a percentage of the time, by some amount (sometimes fixed, sometimes variable). Others allow for attacks to be blocked, mitigating some of the damage. World of Warcraft has the concept of a 'Glancing Blow', which affects only melee autoattacks, and which causes them to do reduced damage sometimes (and more importantly, a percentage of attacks to be incapable of being critical hits), when attacking opponents of a higher level than yourself.

The point is, there isn't any single term you can throw out there to mean this universally. Some games have mechanics like this. Some don't. They all call them whatever the developer of the given game decides to call them.

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    Okay, sometimes there is no answer. At least Googlers will know.
    – Calmarius
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 21:06

The opposite of a "critical hit" is a so called "Glancing Blow". It can occur randomly as the critical hit does and does reduced damage in most games or rule sets.


Lots of other people have given other, valid answers, but no one's mentioned "fumble". Synonymous with "critical miss", you could say it's the opposite of a critical hit. When you fumble, Something Bad will happen such as your weapon jamming or falling out of your hand, or you hit a friend instead, etc...

  • I like "critical miss", because that's more or less how it's said in French: "echec critique", so it makes perfect sense to me :p (in one turn-based game I played, a critical miss simply ended your turn)
    – Thomas
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 3:34
  • In at least tabletop RPG parlance, "Fumble", or "Critical fumble" is more canonical than "critical miss", I agree. Whichever one you Google for, the first page of links are to fumble tables. A miss is simply a failure to connect at all with the weapon, not a failure to operate it as expected. So for a reduced damage result, you'd expect a fumble, not a miss. Commented Sep 12, 2022 at 18:04

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